Same story, different night.
The Oklahoma City Thunder built another huge lead early against the New Orleans Pelicans. However, Anthony Davis' 36 points and 13 rebounds helped the Pelicans survive the early onslaught and come out with a 114-107 victory on Monday night.
The Thunder seem to be stuck in a routine that they just can not break. The Thunder once again started the game in dominating fashion, leading by as many as 19 in the first quarter. The defense created many transition opportunities and easy looks for the Thunder. Paul George hit 3 threes in the first three minutes of the game, Carmelo Anthony hit two threes in the quarter and Russell Westbrook had five assists in the quarter. The Thunder led 25-6 midway through the first quarter and 29-10 with 4 minutes to go.
The defense that got the Thunder this big lead seemed to slowly lose its intensity. The Pelicans started getting into paint and getting easy layups. Jrue Holiday got easy layups, Demarcus Cousins started getting into the lane forcing Steven Adams into foul trouble, and the floor began to open up. The paint touches continued and the Pelicans started to get open looks from the perimeter. The game was tied midway at 41 midway through the second quarter. The Thunder went on a 12-4 run at the end of the quarter to take a 65-57 lead into the halftime break.
The Pelicans got right back into the game as the second half began, the Thunder did not have an answer for the Pelicans in the paint. Midway through the 3rd, Cousins was assessed a flagrant two foul for an elbow to Westbrook, ending Cousins night. The Thunder still could not capitalize on Cousins' absence.
In the fourth quarter, Davis gave the Thunder all they could handle. He lived in the paint, he got easy layups or got to the free throw line. Offensively, the Thunder went back to the same basic offense.
They were shooting contested shots, missing layups and turning the ball over. We are seeing the same movie from the Thunder. The movie starts strong and intense, it gets us engaged and excited, but as the movie goes on it gradually fades into a simple movie that we have seen many times. Then, the ending leaves us all unsatisfied, definitely not as good as the previews.
The Thunder shot 42% from the field and also made 20-of-26 from the free throw line. However, The Pelicans won the rebound battle 49-40 and dominated in the paint outscoring the Thunder 58-36. They also shot 51% from the field.
George led the Thunder with 26 points and a season-high tying 5 steals. Westbrook notched a triple double with 22 points, 16 rebounds and 12 assists. Melo chipped in 19 points with 9 rebounds and Adams scored 15 on 7-of-9 shooting.
Davis had a monster outing with 36 points and 15 rebounds. Cousins scored 18 points before his ejection. Jrue Holiday also put up 18 points.
The Thunder are in for a tough test in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors.